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40 years ago it was a rare thing to hear of someone who was on medication for depression. Of course back then people really didn’t talk about “those kind” of problems very openly. Treatment options were generally restricted to visiting a psychologist, therapist, or psychiatrist.

Now conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety are talked about and blogged about and the medications are more commonly known than most medications for cholesterol or back pain. I doubt if many of us don’t know someone who is taking Prozac, Zoloft or Paxil for depression. There’s plenty of anxiety to go around making us familiar with Xanax or Buspar. Most people are familiar with Lithium as a treatment for bipolar and more than you might think are aware that anti-seizure medication like Depakote is a common medication for controlling the manic/depressive symptoms.

Anxiety and depression have probably always been around and are now more openly discussed and fortunately more quickly diagnosed and treated. If someone with a mood disorder is compliant with today’s treatments, very often even their closest friends may not know what they are dealing with.

How do life insurance companies view the conditions and medications? You should know by now that I always start with what an underwriter looks for first. Compliance and control!!! Are you following the doctors orders and do you have control? In this case control would be defined as being able to carry on both a work and family life in a stable way.

Just a note about depression. There is an underwriting difference between situational depression and chronic depression. If someone close to you dies, depression is a normal response and would be considered situational. Generally treatment doesn’t last for years as a person adjusts to the loss or whatever the situation was. Chronic depression may or may not be brought on by a particular situation, but is often continually treated for years, if not for the rest of a person’s life.From an underwriting standpoint, a situational depression may receive more favorable underwriting, but both types of depression can be underwritten at better than standard rates, often preferred rates, as long as compliance and control are present.

Anxiety disorders are practically as common as headaches in our society and personally I understand why. I live in a small town because the big cities make me anxious. I don’t like being there. I don’t like driving there. I don’t know people who live in cities cope with it. Again, anxiety disorders are looked at the same. With the medication can a person function well? Are they compliant and is their condition under control?

Bipolar is underwritten with basically the same pattern. I should add here, and this goes for depression and anxiety also, if you are on disability due to the problem, that is not considered good control. If you are occasionally hospitalized, that is not good control. If you have attempted suicide, well, are you seeing the pattern?

Bottom line Better than standard and even preferred rates are attainable with mood disorders if you use the right independent agent. Control is the key.